On behalf of the Vestry, we are happy to announce that we have called a new rector to St. Paul’s. The Rev. Carolyn H. Eklund will begin her journey with us on November 1, 2013. Carolyn is currently serving as rector at Grace Church in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Both the Vestry and the Discernment Committee worked hard to come to this place. Before that, the Self Study and Profile Committee, together with our congregation, laid the foundation of who we are at St. Paul’s, and what we were looking for in a rector. The Discernment Committee’s dedication to the task of calling a rector and the tremendous wisdom and generosity members showed in sharing what had been learned in the early part of the process is greatly appreciated. We, as wardens, look upon our time with members of the Vestry in this endeavor, as a true blessing. And we are very grateful for the support of members of our congregation as we moved forward.
The last two years have been a time of tremendous change and growth at St. Paul’s. From a successful Capital Campaign that made possible completion of the second floor, an accessible lift, and new organ, to the renovated chancel, our new carpet, sound system and ceiling fans, we have continued to move forward. Our new, family service thrives and we have an exciting new Director of Christian Formation.
But we are more than ready for a permanent spiritual presence, a priest for our congregation, a pastor for our members. We sought a candidate who approaches challenges with optimism and a sense of humor, and shows open-mindedness. We were looking for someone who had prior experience as a rector, and could lead us in developing a common vision, both inside and outside the church, the diocese, and community. We wanted a rector who would be supportive of open communion and have demonstrated interest in welcoming new, younger parishioners. Our priest would be open to exploring new forms of worship, especially those involving children and youth. Our priest would have a passion for the ministry of pastoral care, and would be an advocate for, and support outreach at St. Paul’s. We looked for a priest who leads from a place of empathy and heartfelt prayer, encourages and inspires others in the development of a deeper spiritual life,and who preaches with clarity, relating the Gospel to our daily lives.
We believe we have found that in The Rev. Carolyn Eklund. Join us in shouting, “Alleluia! Alleluia” AMEN!”
Terry Leitzell Pat Ryan
|The Rev. Carolyn H. Eklund
The Rev. Carolyn H. Eklund has been rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield, New Jersey for over 12 years. She has shepherded this beautiful, historic, inner city parish to connect with the neighborhood where the parish invites their Spanish speaking neighbors to worship and share a meal. She also collaborated with parents and grandparents of the parish to develop and sustain Children & Family Eucharist and a children’s choir.
As Assistant Rector, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Rocky Mount, North Carolina she led the Youth Group in Rite-13 and J2A curriculums in addition to coordinating all Christian Education. She graduated in 1998 from the General Theological Seminary, New York City with a Masters of Divinity and was ordained to the priesthood in 1999 in the Diocese of North Carolina.
Rev. Eklund has served as Vice-President of the board of Plainfield Community Outreach (PCO) for over 12 years. PCO is a non-profit group of Grace Church which sponsors ministries that include Grace’s Kitchen that feeds the hungry of Plainfield, a State of New Jersey 21st Century After-school program and ESL classes.
Her work in the City of Plainfield includes advocating for homeless families through Homefirst, Inc. a non-profit, interfaith organization that provides affordable housing in Union County. She is a key community leader in the effort to restore Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center.
Active in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, Rev. Eklund is a member of the Standing Committee. She has served on the Bishop’s Visioning Committee, the Commission on Priesthood, the Hispanic Commission and is active in the Anti-Racism Commission. She serves on the Province II Missional Network.
Prior to seminary, Rev. Eklund worked for Burroughs Wellcome Co., a pharmaceutical company, as a product manager, sales training manager and sales representative for 14 years. A native of Kansas, she has a BA in microbiology and a BS in Medical Technology from the University of Kansas. She is a classically trained harpist. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, traveling, practicing Spanish, writing, and attending art museums, concerts and plays.
She will be moving to Brunswick with her Border collie mix rescue dog named Sophie who loves to go on walks around the neighborhood, play ball and catch the Frisbie.